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FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs San Jose State – Game 26

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (16-10 / 5-9) | San Jose State Spartans (16-10 / 7-6)

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Runnin’ Rebels were outplayed for the second time in a row, as they were defeated by the San Jose State Spartans 75-66, falling to 5-9 in MWC play.

UNLV vs San Jose State Mountain West Conference game.

UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The UNLV men’s basketball team failed to show up against the San Jose State Spartans. It was the first time San Jose State has swept UNLV since the 2016-17 season. This game was a must-win for the Rebels in terms of their hopes for a 20-win season; with four games remaining on the schedule, they must remain spotless.

San Jose State’s Trey Alexander powered the Spartans to a 75-66 victory over UNLV. Alexander finished with 19 points on 5-for-7 from downtown, along with securing five rebounds. Alexander had made four of his five three-pointers in the first half, with his final three of the first coming before EJ Harkless made a floater to head into halftime, where UNLV trailed San Jose State 40-36.

UNLV’s head coach Kevin Kruger said postgame, “We just had too many possessions where it just kind of felt like something was gonna go wrong at some point.”

UNLV vs San Jose State end of postgame press conference.

The Rebels shot a grand average of 36.5% from the field (23-for-63 FGs) and 27.8% from three (5-for-18 3PMs). San Jose State’s 1-3-1 zone defense gave UNLV trouble on offense.

UNLV vs San Jose State start of the first half.

UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Harkless had an “average” night, totaling 19 points and four rebounds. Though it should be noted that eight of his points came off of free throws, it was a weird night offensively for UNLV

Keshon Gilbert had a solid outing with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Justin Webster was also solid, with 12 points. However, the two combined for a murky 8-for-24 (33.3%) from the field.

Shane Nowell and Jordan McCabe both provided much-needed sparks off of the bench. Yet, they, too, struggled to be efficient, as they combined for 12 points on 5-for-16 field goals and 2-for-8 from beyond the arc. 

David Muoka was back in the starting five, with Luis Rodriguez being out. Rodriguez was limited in practice earlier in the week, and it was reportedly only a maintenance day for him. Muoka, on the other hand, had eight points and four rebounds. Though at times, it seemed that he and Victor Iwuakor were outplayed down low.

All of San Jose State’s players had at least four or more rebounds (except for Garrett Anderson with two). Ibrahima Diallo led the charge with eight total rebounds (four of them being offensive boards). Diallo and the Spartans dominated the rebound battle 39-27, as even when Muoka was on the court, the Rebels failed to box anyone out, and they tried to outjump San Jose State to no avail.

UNLV vs San Jose State end of the first half.

A crucial turning point of the game was when San Jose State jumped out to a 9-0 run late in the first half, and the Spartans were primed to take over. However, McCabe saved the Rebels from more despair as he hit back-to-back jumpers to prevent further bleeding.

UNLV vs San Jose State start of the second half.

UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

UNLV’s defense, on paper, looked to be nonexistent. However, San Jose State made some tough shots. The Rebels did an excellent job making things difficult for Omari Moore, who had 15 points in their last matchup, Moore still finished with 14 points, but it was on 4-for-15 shooting from the field. Moore did most of his damage late in the second half, as he had a couple of contested threes go in.

San Jose State’s offense as a unit clicked, as they shot 48.2% overall (27-for-56 FGs) and 40% from three (12-for-30 3PMs).

In desperation time for UNLV, they allowed back-to-back three-pointers by Tibet Gorener that pushed San Jose State’s lead into double digits. While UNLV needed to get some stops, their offense wasn’t much better off, as they stalled out and failed to score a field goal for six minutes of game time down the wire.

UNLV vs San Jose State end of the game.

Don’t forget to go out and support the Runnin’ RebelsClick here to get your UNLV Runnin’ Rebels tickets! 

 

The Runnin’ Rebels will take on Boise State State Sunday, February 19th, at 6:00 pm PT. The game will be available on FS1.

 

-Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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